Well, it’s been a long time! I wasn’t even certain I remembered my password to this site let alone remembering how to write a blog post.
For the past three years, I’ve barely written a thing outside of a sporadic book review for a friend’s website, work emails or the weekly grocery list. I’ve ignored this site and I’ve ignored my journals. I felt empty and didn’t have anything to say. I knew no one would want to read emo posts so I just…stopped.
I’m coming out of what I believe Douglas Adams called “the long dark teatime of the soul”. Over three years ago, we made a decision which affected our lives more deeply than we anticipated. I made the subconscious decision to hide, which was easy to do. I work online, communicated with my friends through text, Facebook Messenger or Skype. I ordered my groceries online and had them delivered. Amazon provided the other necessities and niceties of life. I deliberated watching church sermons solely online and if I could figure out how to get my kids to and from school without leaving the house, I would have been very content staying holed up in my house.
Deep down I knew that wasn’t the way to live, no matter how much I wanted to become a hermit. (For the record, I would have made an excellent recluse.)
Upon the suggestion of a trusted pastor, I decided to ask for help and spent six months in counseling. I also decided to stop fighting God and quit trying to accelerate the healing process. I learned how to forgive. I’m learning not to be ruled by worry and anxiety.
Oh, but I have so much left to learn!
My husband and I are now more actively engaged in our new church home. We both have a place to serve and a few months ago, we joined a small group. Being part of a community again is wonderful and food for my spirit. I realized I needed to leave the house more often and rejoin the human race. This meant purchasing my groceries in person instead of online. My first foray back to the grocery store was wonderful. Within 20 minutes of arrival, someone called out my name and I came face-to-face with “Chuck” and “Tammy”; a lovely retired couple I used to serve with at my previous church. After a wonderful round of hugs and conversation, I left the store floating on air and emotional. I couldn’t believe what I had been missing!
The following week, I quite literally ran into my nephew. We spotted each other across several rows, silently steered our carts towards each other, increasing our speed until we crashed our carts together. I left that encounter feeling pretty happy. Being around people is great!
Week 3, however, taught me a lesson. The store was packed the weekend before Thanksgiving. I navigated my way down the frozen food aisle feeling like I was playing a live-action version of Frogger. I saw a very tiny elderly woman. She was barely 5 feet tall, stooped over and if I had to guess, I’d say she was knocking on the door of 90 years old. She couldn’t reach the frozen breakfast sausage that was on sale. Just as I was about to offer my assistance, she asked a man in front of her if he could help. This gentleman was quite thin, also stooped over and possibly in his 70s. I watched him remove his oxygen hose from his nose, open the freezer door and start the climb on the shelves to fetch the sausage.
This had disaster written all over it. I scrambled over and asked the man if I could grab the sausage instead.
“Nah…I’m already here. Why don’t I hand off to you though so I don’t have to get up and down?”
So, the man and I did our dance; he strained to reach the boxes on the back of the icy shelf, I grabbed them while keeping an eagle eye on my purse in the crowded aisle and handed the sausage to the elderly woman. After a couple of rounds, the man hollered, “How many does she want?”
I turned to ask the old woman if this was enough, when she suddenly looked up from her envelope of coupons, glanced over at the sausage boxes in her cart and said,
“These aren’t the right ones”.
At this point, a collective groan arose from the entire row. The three of us had created quite the traffic jam. Oxygen Man was furious. He climbed down, uttered a few choice words and informed me that I would have to put them all back because his hands were numb. As I tossed the boxes back on the shelf and watched him shove his oxygen tube back up his nose, I looked over at our damsel in distress. Seemingly oblivious, she headed off in the opposite direction. I couldn’t get out of that aisle fast enough.
And then I remembered…dealing with people can be
And that’s okay. I’m learning it’s important to keep showing up and embracing all of it, the good, bad and ugly.
That’s where I’m at on this New Year’s Day; stepping outside, seeing what happens and hoping to have a good story to tell.
Happy New Year to you. May you have some great stories to tell as well.